As many of you may know Disney runs two, hard-ticket, parties during the fall. In September and October Disney holds Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. In November and December Disney holds Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Both of these require attendees to buy separate admission tickets and the costs start at $68/person. The question I am always asked: Is it worth the money?
Today, I am just going to focus on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
To preface this post: We have attended the Christmas Party several times and we have two very positive experiences and one not good experience.
We had the chance to attend the September 2, 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Originally, our trip was supposed to end on September 2 but our transportation changed and we were able to extend our trip for a night. Having never been to the party (and it was my 7’s year old birthday the following week) we bought tickets for the party. There were four of us in attendance: my mom, Seth (4), Addison (7) and myself (Old).
For those who have never attended. The party is Disney’s Halloween party. It’s family friendly and people get dressed up. The park has seven trick or treats locations set up, special character meet and greets and multiple attractions open. There is also a special parade, special Halloween fireworks and the Hocus Pocus show plays in front of the castle several times.
We had dinner at the California Grill prior to going over to the park. And we walked over to the party at about 6:30 pm. There were almost no lines to enter the park and had no problem getting through security and getting our wristbands.
Prior to the party night I had seen a Disney Parks Blog saying that there was a special “photo opp” at the entrance to the party, with the Headless Horseman. After a quick search we could not find this opp and headed into the party.
We grabbed several maps and scoped out what we wanted to do. For anyone familiar with the Magic Kingdom you know that you enter up Main Street and can choose which spoke you head out too. Tonight however, in an effort to clear the parks of all non-party guests the cast members had roped off Main Street and were directing everyone up the back side of Main Street (they built an overflow area along the back of Main Street to accommodate heavy crowds). Other Cast Members were walking non-partygoers out down the center of Main Street. As we looked at the map it looked like there were multiple candy locations in Tomorrowland. We headed there so the kids could get candy and start the party. Until we saw the lines. And I mean lines, wrapped around other attractions. Now, they probably moved quickly but each line had to be a 30+ minute wait for candy. My kids quickly nixed waiting in those lines for candy. And I basically said, I will buy you some candy when we get to a store. I was really shocked by the size of the candy lines. We opted to ride People Mover (I don’t know we love this ride, but we do), Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and Buzz Lightyear. We basically walked onto all three rides with no problem. By the time we finished the candy lines had died down a little so we went through one of two lines and got candy.
Looking at our watches we realized that the parade would start in about 20 minutes. Now, let me just say this before I get skewered. We have attended the Christmas Party several times and we have almost always staked out parade spots about 30 minutes before. We haven’t always gotten the best seats but we have gotten seats. Tonight, which was supposed to be one of the least crowded parties of the year, we headed to Frontierland to find a place to watch. It was MOBBED. Six people deep to watch the parade. We could not even get into the walkways to move the strollers to find a space. We ended up finding benches behind some bushes behind the crowds and put the kids to stand up on the benches. The parade was okay, really, just okay. I have always read that the Headless Horseman started the parade. Not the night we watched. I have since read that the Horseman was returned. The parade had some special floats for Halloween (Haunted Mansion float, Villains float and the ghost ballroom dancers from Haunted Mansion). Maybe it’s us, we aren’t ridiculously huge Halloween people. I was a little disappointed.
Okay, onward, the fireworks were amazing. They are launched around the perimeter of the Magic Kingdom. We stood in the New Fantasyland and were just in awe.
I had the kids and we headed out after the fireworks, 11:00 pm. We had no issues getting out of the park and walking over to the Contemporary (were we had parked before dinner).
Okay so here are the good, bad and other points:
- Fireworks were amazing.
- It was fun to see everyone in costume, including some adults in some amazing costumes.
- There are quite a few character meet and greets that are exclusive to this party. If you’re rare character person, this would be great.
- It was crowded. And there was no way we were waiting in candy lines, with the kids, for 30 minutes per line. The party was crowded enough that they ran out of trick or treat bags for party goers. Not sure how that happens, but it did.
- Hocus Pocus show did not start until 9:30 pm.
- Parade was just okay. Not spectacular.
- In comparison, we LOVE the Christmas parade. And they make it snow after the parade. It’s a really special warm and fuzzy to watch it snow on Main St.
- We were there for the first party. There were lots of special characters out to meet the kids. BUT on the party map it doesn’t actually list which characters are where. As it was the first party night I couldn’t read any reports of who was where. It would be nice if Disney listed who was in the locations on the maps.
- My kids were totally not into seeing anyone, scary or otherwise, out that night. So, this was not a plus for us.
- There are fewer attractions open during the Halloween party than at the Christmas party. I was surprised (my fault because I assumed that the same attractions were open).
- The park can be dark in some spots, because it’s the Halloween party? So, just an fyi because it was hard to see where to push the stroller in some spots.
Did I think it was worth the money? No. Short answer. For a family of four it’s at least a $300 night. And for $300 you can upgrade your hotel for the week, do a family tour or spend another day at Disney.
My kids are small and we cannot make it till midnight at the parties. We try and head out after the fireworks. At this party, because everything started a little later it seemed slightly less small kid friendly than the Christmas party (the parade starts at 8:30 pm, the fireworks are at 10:15 pm).
The crowd to see the parade was really ridiculous. The cast members could not even tell us where to cross the street because no one was actually following any of the directions or actually staying within the boundaries that Disney had set out.
For me, it was not fun to wait in lines to trick or treat. I get it, its Disney. But a)I paid a lot to get to trick or treat and b)by the time the lines died down it was later in the evening and my kids were tired.
We won’t go back to the Halloween party. It’s an expensive evening and the money can definitely be better spent someplace else at Disney.